A few years ago Love, Inc. began a pilot breakfast program when it came to their attention that there were a lot of kids that were starting the day without an adequate breakfast.
"The school nurse and principal brought the need to our attention last year and it was something that we were able to respond to quickly, so we put together a pilot program for the last month of the school year and we averaged about 25 students a day that month at Sears, now we have breakfast programs at four schools averaging about 30 breakfasts a day," said Love, Inc. Clearing House Coordinator Lynda Yoder .
The cereal and milk is purchased or donated by local church and civic organizations, and those who serve the breakfasts are all volunteers. "Teachers tell us the students are able to settle down and get to work faster when they have food in their stomachs first thing before school, and we think it helps them concentrate and learn better," added Yoder. Breakfast is available to anyone who wants it, there is no criteria and Yoder estimates that about half are kids that don't have food at home and half are kids that just miss breakfast for one reason or another. "Some of the kids that are really hungry wouldn't come in on their own, but they come with a friend as sort of a social time with a student that was maybe just running late, so we have some of each," said Yoder. The goal of Love, Inc. is to have such a breakfast program at all of the elementary schools.
Additionally, Love, Inc. is in the process of getting 100 bikes to give away to kids before school is out for the summer. Roy Espy and Patria Falkenberg are heading up the bike program and say they got started around Christmas time. "We're relying on people to donate the money or buy the bicycle themselves for the program, and we'll be distributing the bikes through the elementary schools that have the breakfast programs underway. 100% of the funds collected will be spent on the bikes, there are no administration fees for this program," said Espy. Gently used bikes will also be accepted, but because of safety and repair issues they will not be accepting well used bikes. For more information on the bike program or to volunteer for the breakfast program, call Roy Espy at 283-5621 or Patria Falkenberg at 394-2646.
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